Giuliani Finishes Touring Mexico City
Jan. 16, 2003
MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Mobbed by local reporters, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani ended a two-day visit to Mexico's capital Wednesday, declaring that fighting government corruption will be crucial in lowering crime.
Mexican newspapers reporting his visit, also listed a series of crimes that occurred not far from where he walked. Among them was the arrests Tuesday evening of several policemen as they allegedly tried to rob a house.
``Dealing with corruption is going to be a major factor here,'' said Giuliani, whose consulting company has been hired for $4.3 million to help the Mexican capital match New York City's success in cutting crime.
As Giuliani neared Mexico's central plaza, the Zocalo, shop worker Maricruz Ayala, 31, expressed hope but little optimism about chances for reducing crime.
``I hope he can, but it looks to be difficult,'' she said. ``Corruption goes to the core here in Mexico and I don't see that changing.''
Crowded by dozens of local media, Giuliani said that he would have preferred to have traveled in a less conspicuous way and added that his advice for the city is still four months away.
``I would have preferred to have come here alone and quietly and walked about secretly and talked to people,'' Giuliani told a news conference at the end of his stay.
Instead, he wandered through the streets at the eye of a storm of reporters, cameramen and police guards that made it nearly impossible for him to see anything on Wednesday.
He managed a few relatively calm hours of strolling on Tuesday before local news media discovered him at about dawn.
``Giuliani patrols, guarded by 400'' announced the newspaper El Universal, exaggerating the crowd, but not by much.
More than four dozen television and still photographers and dozens of reporters crowded around him on Wednesday as he tried to make his way through Mexico City's narrow downtown streets.
The former mayor also met with U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza, who said Giuliani was a natural choice to help Mexico City fight crime.
Giuliani repeatedly insisted that he never advocated a ``zero tolerance'' approach to crime, saying it was more an approach of taking small crimes such as broken windows seriously while closely monitoring crime patterns.
Met with the traditional Mexican skepticism over advice from north of the border, Giuliani lavished praise on his hosts and assured that the report due in May would take account of legal and cultural differences.
``We have been very, very favorably impressed with the attitude of openness for the kinds of recommendations that we think will help to improve the quality of life and reduce crime,'' Giuliani said.